The Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union “has obtained the flexibility it needs to pursue negotiations with the European Parliament” aimed at concluding the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
The Portuguese Minister of Agriculture, Maria do Céu Antunes, who chaired the European Agriculture and Fisheries Council over two days, welcomed “the clear commitment of all the Member States to implementing CAP reforms during this half-year”, and revealed that “the Presidency obtained the flexibility it needs to pursue negotiations with the European Parliament”.
Concluding the reforms of this European framework policy “must be seen as a collective victory of the three institutions and the modernisation of the Common Agricultural Policy”, the Minister said, recalling that “delaying it would compromise a greener, fairer and more digital CAP, as well as the ability to clearly and foreseeably support farmers and ensure the safety of the entire European agri-food system”.
During this European Council in Brussels, on 22 and 23 March, total allowable catches in the fisheries area were approved up to 31 July, to be introduced as a contingency plan in case agreement is not reached with the United Kingdom in the ongoing negotiations by the end of the month.
The Portuguese Minister of Maritime Affairs, Ricardo Serrão Santos, believes that this contingency plan, “although indispensable, should not divert attention from the main goal, which is to reach a final agreement with the United Kingdom, thus ensuring that the Member States' fleets can continue to fish safely and predictably”.
Serrão Santos concluded that these negotiations, “although complex and difficult, are fundamental” insofar as the Portuguese Presidency of the EU is still committed to an agreement that “lives up to the ambitions of fishing communities and the fishing industry”, according to the principles of the Common Fisheries Policy.